Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sad, but true...political solutions are lacking

Crisis of leadership in Guyana's political opposition

The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) says Guyana's opposition Leader, Robert Corbin, is "ineffective and lacks a vision for the country." A CGID statement Monday asserted that "The political opposition in Guyana appears to be unaware that the political opposition of a country constitutes part of the democratic process and governance framework, and must therefore, in addition to robust representation of its constituency, offer alternative plans and policies for the governance of the country."

The Institute said that Mr. Corbin and the rest of the political opposition have abdicated their constitutional responsibility and have become ineffective." The CGID statement quoted its President, Rickford Burke as saying that PNCR and opposition Leader Robert Corbin appears to be equally bankrupt on policy ideas and the acute need for political reform."

Burke further noted that "We all criticize the PPP government for its ineptitude but the truth is that Corbin and the rest of the opposition are in lockstep with this paralysis of incompetence that permeates Guyana's governance and political culture. This will only change if we all speak out," Burke maintained.

"Recently the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) was moved to call on Corbin to "Up the ante against the government." They did so because he lacks the alacrity to engage the government. This appears to validate the view that he is politically compromised. We have lost confidence in him and so has a majority of his constituents. He is uninspiring and, perhaps, ought to step aside," Burke lamented.

"When the human rights association has to call on the opposition to basically do its job, there is a crisis of leadership in the opposition," he added. The CGID statement followed a press conference last Wednesday in New York where Burke declared that Guyana has no political opposition. I am terribly disappointed in Mr. Corbin's lack of leadership and resolve to confront the government through parliamentary and extra-parliamentary measures, to hold the government to account, so as to ensure good governance and that the rule of law is respected.

He said Mr. Corbin appears to be nonplussed, like a deaf man amidst a sonic boom, as the state collapses; unmoved by events and circumstances. Every week several citizens are being murdered and the Police conducts no investigations, yet these issues do not come up in Parliament.

Burke contended that the Chief Magistrate has been removed from office for no legitimate reason, the government commits crimes against humanity; including torture and extra-judicial killing, people are executed by death squads with alarming frequency, there is massive corruption in government, including law enforcement and the judiciary, and the country is overrun by drug-lords, with full complicity of the government. Amidst this crisis of governance, Mr. Corbin's response is just "talk" at a press conference.

Burke observed that Mr. Corbin is due in New York this weekend for a number of events and to address the Guyanese community. "It is all well and good for him to come to New York to raise funds but it is up to us to determine if we will continue to give our resources blindly to a leader who has done nothing for us. My advice to my countrymen and women is to gently urge the opposition leader to ride gracefully into the sunset and allow capable leadership to emerge. This would be best for his party and the country."

Attached CGID Photo (L-R): CGID Vice President Edward Meertins George, CGID President, Rickford Burke, former political prisoner, Mark Benschop, CGID Executive, Max Hinds, at a CGID press conference in New York last Wednesday.

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